- Author: Mimi M Enright
For the Sonoma County Fair's 2016 movie theme, the Master Gardeners were inspired by the spaghetti westerns of the past. Our interpretation of “THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY BEAUTIFUL” shows examples of sustainable practices for home gardeners.
The "BAD" home garden uses chemicals to kill insects and inorganic fertilizers on "unused high water-use" turf. Not all bugs are bad—we rely on pollinators for food crops. Sonoma county residents will need to become “water smart” to maintain our limited water supply for future generations. Invasive plants like ivy and Vinca major can escape our home gardens and grow wild along our streams and overwhelm native plants. Other invasive plants like feather grass, common fountain grass and pampas grass spread their seeds by the wind invading other gardens and competing with native grasses.
Drought tolerant gardens don't have to be “UGLY,” with so many low water plant options, our home gardens can be “BEAUTIFUL.” Our garden display shows many beautiful low water plant choices to add interest and color for a serene low maintenance garden. Instead of turf lawn, use a lawn alternative like Kurapia (Lippia nodiflora). Select plants for their mature size and best location in the garden. Other sustainable practices include adding a rain garden to slow, spread and sink water, watering low water plants with drip irrigation instead of spray irrigation, feeding the soil with compost, providing flowers, seeds and water for pollinators and birds, understanding how beneficial insects help our plants survive and using good horticultural practices to maintain our gardens.
The Master Gardeners will be at the Sonoma County Fair every day from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to answer your questions about sustainable gardening practices. We hope that you stop by to see THE GOOD, BAD AND BEAUTIFUL of sustainability in the garden. See you at the fair!